I remember my first “real” Mother’s Day. I woke up that morning feeling like I’d joined an exclusive club. I was among the ranks of women who shaped the world; who understood life differently because they gave it; who gained both immeasurable strength and fragile vulnerability because they gave their hearts completely to their children. I was a Mom.
I approached this Mother’s Day, so many years later, determined to be happy: to celebrate what it has always meant to me; to remember my own mother as the wonderful, flawed, loving, genuine person she was; to hold each of you in my heart with all the love and hope I have carried since the day you were born. I surrounded myself with friends and created a day of laughter. I got flowers. I got a card. And a gift. I got messages from friends, and lots of hugs.
At the end of the day, I pulled out two DVDs. The first was from Grandma Judie’s memorial. Her life, in just a few minutes… but the heart doesn’t need much to remember a lot. A little girl with a teddy bear, a young woman with her roommate, a new mom, a growing family, and – at last – grandchildren. That’s where I cried: seeing her with you. The mom I loved beyond words laughing and playing with the children I love beyond words… my world, complete. She loved you so much, you know. And was so proud of you. What a gift you were in her life; what a gift she was in yours. The hardest part of losing her, I think, was knowing the laughter, support, and love you would miss in her absence. And yet what she gave can never be lost; that’s the power of love.
The second DVD was a Mother’s Day gift from four years ago: “18 Years of Love.” A slide show of your lives set to “I’m Alive” by Celine Dion. Each of you at birth, ages in between, and ending at nearly 18, 15, almost 13, and close to 11. I love this video. Not only for the way it sums up your childhoods to that point or the thoughtful effort that went into it, but for the loving intention it conveys. The back cover of the jewel bears these words: “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being the greatest, most committed, loving, giving mother there Ever Was.” Touching words to read then, touching words now, and reminders of the special love between mother and children. Would you be surprised to learn I didn’t cry watching this? It surprised me. Yet, there is so much pure joy in remembering everything because there was so much joy in loving you; there was no room tonight for even sentimental tears.
Mother’s Day is a time set aside to reflect on what our mothers mean to us. Since my induction into the club, it’s also been a time for me to reflect on what being a mother means. Today was no different. I know why I recall so well that feeling of my first Mother’s Day. Because there will never be anything to match the lifelong love that was born into my heart with each one of you. I love you. I always have. I always will. No Matter What.
That’s what being a mom means.